Black pine/Ponderosa Frankie Tree Revisit-

This is an earlier work, black pine grafted on a ponderosa trunk. I think it was grafted about 9 years ago. It’s a small tree, a chuhin at 14”. Collected years ago by Randy Knight; recently reworked by apprentice John Eads.

In our first post on this tree, Black Pine/Ponderosa, I suggested calling it a Frankie tree, for the Frankenstein element of splicing two genetics together. And though I’m in danger of sounding like a broken record, I do think grafting has a real place for the long-needled ponderosa, particularly in the case of smaller bonsai sizes. There are several examples in the blog archives of smaller Frankie pines (just type in ‘black pine’ in the search field).

About four or five years after putting two cleft grafts near the trunk, on older branches, this ponderosa/black pine Frankie tree got potted up for the first time. This is in March 2016. Pretty thin, right?

In December 2019, four growing seasons later, with yearly decandling, which brings speeded-up ramification. Never did cut off the jin to the left, which is adding nothing. Considering a square or octagonal pot for the future, but it’s not been repotted in four years and doesn’t need repotting this year, either. Ponderosa root stock does not make a dense root mass very quickly and keeping them slightly root-bound helps control legginess in pines, and many other genera for that matter.

January 2020 Bulletin Board: 

—Dark Paths of Apprentices: Nothing to report, which makes me nervous, assuming plotting is underway

—New book Bonsai Heresy: Books expected by late April 

—Bonsai Heresy Book Tour: By Amtrak, now scheduled for late August through early September, more soon on that

Seasonals: A couple spots opened up for the 2020 three-day sessions, please send email if interested to crataegusbonsai@gmail.com

—Vivian: Happily living as an outdoor cat in the bonsai garden, everyone can stop worrying

—Birding in Panama: See public Facebook posts of stunning birds from January adventure (no need to friend me to see them, we can remain enemies; posts are under Michael Hagedorn)

8 Comments

  1. Skipp Serrano says:

    Why change the pot. The tree is the star. This pot is plain enough to allow the tree to shine. I’d leave it along. But, your tree, your choice.

    • crataegus says:

      I’m glad you like the round one. I like it. I’d like to try a stronger pot because it is a powerful tree, but the round one is the best I’ve found so far. Maybe we’ll keep it. Mostly I think it’s fun to change things now and then, otherwise we start to ignore our creations, they become like paintings on the wall that have been up for too many years. Switching things around keeps it engaging, and we might find something that works better, too. But…maybe we’ll keep the round one. It does support the tree well I think.

  2. David Wheeler says:

    love your ‘bulletin board’ comments…..

    On Tue, Jan 21, 2020 at 2:02 AM michael hagedorn wrote:

    > crataegus posted: “This is an earlier work, black pine grafted on a > ponderosa trunk. I think it was grafted about 9 years ago. It’s a small > tree, a chuhin at 14”. Collected years ago by Randy Knight; recently > reworked by apprentice John Eads. In our first post on this tr” >

  3. JeroenM says:

    What an amazing evolution. I love these kind of posts.
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  4. Michael S Westervelt says:

    It’s a Pinus Pondbergiana!

  5. Chris says:

    Do you find grafting JBP onto ponderosa more difficult than JBP onto JBP? I have heard others say the success rate is less. Am considering giving it a try so wanted to know what your experience has been.

    • crataegus says:

      It is more difficult, yes. Most seem to get less than 50% success, whereas JBP onto JBP can be near 100% success. Something physiological going on there, not sure what it is. But once the grafts take they seem great. It’s decandled just as if it were on its own roots.

  6. Stephen Parker says:

    I love the hole design it all works very well it only improve with time

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